Commentary

AMERICA AT A CROSSROAD

The global economic shock waves have started to subside but the American and world economies are not yet out of the woods. If the crisis is not handled carefully we could see a return to the failed policies of the past and a further march on the road to social chaos.

In America, things are indeed dire. At a time when the country is going through its worst crisis in fifty years, the Congress is terribly gridlocked along party lines. It is quite clear that the Republicans do not want President Obama to succeed despite their often hypocritical pretensions to the contrary. They oppose every policy that he enunciates, even in instances voting against positions that they themselves supported. These are positions which in the last minute they could not bring themselves to support as to do so would increase the possibility of the president getting a second term. The Republicans may think that this is a smart strategy but the behavior borders on moral bankruptcy and may in fact hurt the nation.

While the “Neros” in Congress fiddle, many Americans continue to lose their jobs. Many go without proper healthcare as they have to determine whether to buy food or half of the medication they were prescribed, or none. The physical infrastructure of the country is in serious decline as important maintenance work has not been consistently applied over the years. Witness the bridge collapse in Minnesota and the breaching of the levees in New Orleans.

The decay in our physical infrastructure is only matched by the decay in our economic prospects. The country is close to 12 trillion dollars in debt with a strong possibility of it reaching 19 trillion at the end of President Obama’s four year term in office. This burgeoning debt has called into serious question our standing in the world, a matter alluded to recently by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Our status as a superpower is seriously in doubt. It is difficult to make the argument that you are a superpower when you are the largest debtor nation in the world and, technically, a nation that should be declared bankrupt. No one has a clue as to where the money will come from to fund the unfunded mandates and liabilities that will be incurred going into the future. It is no longer our foray into Iraq or the portrayal of an imperial presidency that now makes us feared or hated in the world; it is our reckless approach to our financial housekeeping which puts the rest of the world’s economy in serious jeopardy and about which the rest of the world has to be fearful.

Yet we are poised for more spending. The Federal Reserve may have the power to print money but there will come a time when the chickens will come home to roost. And when they do, there will be hell to pay. This “spending shock” in which the country has been placed is at the heart of the discontent we have seen in recent years. It spawned the TEA party protests and is fueling the present discontent in the country that is threatening to spill over into social anarchy.

We are at a critical turning point in our country. The bottom-line is that we are in a real mess. When our legislators fiddle they put the country in serious jeopardy. We are being made the laughingstock of nations, but more importantly, the future of the country is being seriously compromised. As citizens we demand a change from the churlish, petty approach of so many of our legislators to the business of this country. We did not give them power to pursue self-aggrandizement or to feather their own nests or that of their friends and relatives. We demand a change in their behavior: yes, change we all can believe in!

Rev. Dr. Raulston Nembhard

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